Brits will be able to go on holiday to a new list of 75 countries without needing to quarantine when they return to the UK, according to new reports.
The news comes following the government ditching the plans to create ‘air bridges’, which were going to make travelling between two countries which have similarly low levels of coronavirus easier.
The full list of countries will be published by the government today or tomorrow, and will see the lifting of the Foreign Office’s ban on non-essential travel to nearly all EU destinations plus many others.
The 75 countries listed have been deemed sufficiently low-risk destinations for holidaymakers based on their COVID-19 levels, a declining infection rate and that their data can be trusted.
From Monday, travellers to 75 countries will no longer have to quarantine for 14 days when they return to the UK.
Instead, the air bridges will be replaced with a traffic light system which will decide which nations are safe, a move which has been massively welcomed by the travel and aviation industry.
‘Green’ or ‘Amber’ countries will not require 14 days isolation on returning to the UK, but ‘Red’ countries will.
Many popular holiday destinations will be found on the list, such as Croatia, Turkey, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Greece, Switzerland, Belgium, Ireland, Iceland, Poland, Malta, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Slovenia, Slovakia and Germany.
However, Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, has this week she reserved the right to quarantine English visitors. Likewise, Ireland is expected to publish its own ‘Green’ list of countries and has already indicated that Britons could be forced to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival.
Some countries like Australia and New Zealand are expected to retain border controls and impose quarantine until the end of the year.
The USA, Russia and Brazil are among the list of ‘Red’ countries where non-essential travel will continue to be banned.
Sweden, which tops the tables in the EU for coronavirus cases, is expected to be classed as Red, as with Portugal due to a recent outbreak in and around the capital, Lisbon.
Despite this being welcomed by the travel industry, some government officials have claimed creating a specific list of countries exempt from quarantine poses a ‘diplomatic nightmare’ and could open ‘legal challenges’, according to The Telegraph.
These officials have proposed a list that expands on the Foreign Office’s travel advice to include high-risk countries where Britons should refrain from travelling to instead.
Henry Smith, chair of the cross-party Future of Aviation group, said: “This has been done in a very piecemeal way and with a degree of uncertainty. I still think the introduction of quarantine was not the right decision but we are where we are.
“We need to get a set of criteria and subsequent list of countries published. Every day of uncertainty translates into more jobs lost.”
What do you think, are you planning on travelling or waiting a little longer?
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New date set for when UK tourists will need to pay to enter Spain, Greece and Portugal
Here’s everything you need to know…
The date for when British tourists will have to pay to enter European holiday hotspots has changed, the European Union has confirmed.
It was originally announced that anyone from the UK travelling to one of the twenty-six countries in the Schengen States will have to apply and pay for a visa from September 2023.
However, the launch of the new European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) has been delayed, with it now being expected to come into force from November 2023.
From then, any British tourist travelling to any of the twenty-six Schengen State countries will have to apply via an official website and/or app for mobile devices with a fee of €7.
The ETIAS has been designed to enhance security and enforce the borders of the Schengen zone, which includes popular holiday destinations such as Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy.
They will be required for anyone over the age of eighteen and under the age of seventy travelling to one of the countries, whether it be by airplane, boat or car.
Tourists will need a passport or equivalent document to apply, and it’s estimated that for the majority of people, ETIAS will be approved within minutes.
However, those who are flagged as a potential risk could face a wait of up to ninety-six hours.
An ETIAS will cost €7 (£5), with successful applicants being permitted to travel within the Schengen Zone for up to ninety days per 180-day period.
There are 26 countries in the Schengen Area, all of which will fall under the new visa system:
- Czech Republic
- The Netherlands
For more information and to see if you’re eligible to apply for the new ETIAS visa, visit the official ETIAS website here.
Spain issues update on £85 a day rule for British tourists
According to officials, it isn’t a new rule…
Spanish officials have addressed the controversy surrounding the country’s new policy regarding British tourists’ spending money.
According to various reports last week, holiday-goers are now required to prove they can spend at least €100 (£85) a day for the duration of their holiday.
It was also suggested that tourists will need to provide evidence of a return flight or onward ticket, as well as proof of accommodation while on holiday.
A number of British travel firms criticised the alleged new policy, arguing that Brits contribute hugely to the large tourism market.
But now, Spanish officials have dismissed these reports and clarified which rules British tourists need to be aware of.
A statement on behalf of the Spanish Tourist Office said the rule was not new and had in fact been in force since January 1st. It added that the regulations were not confined to Spain and applied to visitors from most nations outside the EU-Schengen border-free travel area.
Manuel Butler, the Spanish Tourist Office director, said: “The requirement for UK travellers to be able to illustrate sufficient means for the duration of their stay and the return is established in the Schengen Borders Code and is not a Spain-specific requirement.
“This is not a new requirement and has been in place for some time for visitors from outside of the European Union or Schengen area. When entering Spain, these checks are not systematically carried out for every traveller.
“Likewise, travellers coming to the UK are also required to show that they have specific means to support themselves and any dependents for the duration of the trip and the ability to pay for the return or onward journey.”
The UK Foreign Office guidelines states: “Border guards will use passport stamps to check you’re complying with the 90-day visa-free limit for short stays in the Schengen area.
“If relevant entry or exit stamps are not in your passport, border guards will presume that you have overstayed your visa-free limit.”
Read more about the government’s entry advice for Spain here.